From the President




  Books & Film



  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  From the Editor

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Summer 2006 | Volume 29, Number 3 | Features

Response Art Work

Montana Ranch I:
Nevada Creek Ridge
Acrylic on Paper
17" x 8"

Michael Caldwell
SPU Professor Emeritus of Art

Ten miles east of Ovando, a small town in westcentral Montana, lies this placid prairie scene, give or take a few trees and clouds. “The title of the painting refers to a nearby creek,” says just-retired Seattle Pacific University Professor of Art Michael Caldwell. “But it may be that I invented the name of the mountain range.”

When you’re a painter, you get to do that. You also get to change the world, as it were. Caldwell has painted the scene often, changing it each time. “Sometimes there’s more space at the bottom,” he explains. “Sometimes I bring trees in from other places. Once, I put in a little creek.” Pointing to this painting, he says, “Those clouds weren’t there. I brought them in from someplace else. I removed some trees here and there, and there were a couple of buildings in the foreground.”

A longtime devotee of Big Sky Country and the American West, Caldwell has visited this particular Montana landscape many times. “I don’t recall what it was that first attracted me to it,” he says. “Maybe it was just the fact that it is a prairie, flatlike, and then these two hills stood out, and as you move to the right there’s a big gap and another set of mountains starts, so you can see out through the gap.” He pauses, then continues. “The colors, and the way the trees help define the shape of the mountains, also attracted me.”

The artist created the painting, which was sold last year to a private collector, in his Seattle studio from photographs. “It’s not unlike the way landscape paintings were done in the 19th century prior to the Impressionists,” Caldwell, ever the teacher, explains. “The Impressionists were really the first people to go outdoors and actually finish works of art outside.”

After 36 years at Seattle Pacific, Caldwell retired in June 2006 (click here for the story). He has moved with his wife, Vicki, to their home outside Winthrop, Washington, where he will continue to paint, among other things, his vision of the great American West.


Send This Page Send-to-Printer

Back to the top
Back to Home


Artful Advocacy
A student-led campaign called “reVISION” brings an outpouring of support for those with AIDS.

School’s Out
Four professors with 121 combined years of commitment to the University say goodbye to SPU and hello to retirement.

Living His Dream
Young alum Bryce Phillips has built successful businesses while advocating work-life balance for himself and his employees.

Paradise Lost
In The New World, Pocahontas takes moviegoers on a spiritual journey some critics dubbed an overlooked masterpiece.

One for the Record Books
Falcon decathlete Chris Randolph became a two-time national champion while setting new SPU records.

My Response
A Class of 2006 graduate reflects on lessons learned in Havana, Cuba, and in a classroom visit from Edward Nixon — Richard Nixon’s brother.

Copyright © 2006 Seattle Pacific University. General Information: (206) 281-2000